Thursday, June 09, 2016

Today -100: June 9, 1916: We believe in American policies at home and abroad


Delegates of the Republican and Progressive parties meet to try to find a presidential candidate acceptable to both, without success so far. Progressive Party leaders are hard put to calm their convention down and keep it from jumping the gun and just nominating Roosevelt, but they manage it.

Roosevelt issues a threat, in the form of a telegram to ex-Sen. William Jackson, saying that there’s a good chance that if the R’s nominate Hughes without his repudiating the support of “the professional German-Americans” (i.e., the German-American Alliance, which said that Hughes would be acceptable to them but TR or Elihu Root would not), the people will reject the R’s, and may even support a third-party candidate.

The Republican platform heavily emphasizes “Americanism,” which means whatever anyone wants it to mean, of course, but it includes no dual allegiances – This means you, German-Americans! This probably doesn’t mean you, Anglo-Americans! It says, “We believe in American policies at home and abroad.” The US should enforce the rights of Americans “at home and abroad, by land and sea,” unlike that weakling Wilson. “The present Administration has destroyed our influence abroad and humiliated us in our own eyes.”

While calling for a super-strong military, compulsory military training is rejected.

National prohibition is rejected without discussion or a vote.

The plank on women’s suffrage supports it as a “matter of justice,” but recognizes “the right of each State to settle this question for itself.” At the word “but,” the women in the audience stopped cheering. Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter Alice, who had encouraged them to cheer, laughed at this practical joke.

Mainstream Republicans want Charles Fairbanks to be Charles Evans Hughes’ running mate. Fairbanks, who is technically still running for president, says he doesn’t want the job again. Fairbanks was veep in Roosevelt’s second term, though he supported Taft in 1912, which would make things a touch awkward if TR gets the nomination this year.

The NYT editorializes that Supreme Court justices should never run for higher office, as it taints the court and their own judgement. Which is a fair point. But then they say that the fact that the German-American Alliance would boast Hughes as their own candidate is a reason not to nominate him, because it would cause racial division (the Germans being a race), which is a silly point.


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